TIAA Anti-Crime Specialists have been notified of numerous fraudulent attempts for payment of office supplies/consumables concentrating mainly on printer toners/drums and on occasions medical supplies. In nearly all cases the items have not been ordered and therefore not been received.

The methodology of the fraudster is to impersonate a company that may do business with the organisation, therefore adding plausibility that the invoice request is legitimate, or to create a fake company that does not actually supply any goods or services. Intelligence received to date suggests that these attempts have mainly concentrated on GP surgeries, but as office supplies would routinely be ordered by the majority of organisations, any organisation is at risk of being targeted by this invoice fraud.

Perpetrators use names of small office supply companies, some of which have already been dissolved with Companies House. Fraudsters also use the names of well-known UK office supply companies (often in liquidation), or names of office supply companies based overseas.

The company names that have been used potentially fraudulently are as follows: Nationwide Supplies, Office Direct, Office Team, Office Solutions, Office Supply, Office Supplies, Office Express, Office World, Office Max, Office Basics Ltd, Prestige Office Supplies Ltd, Rapwell Toners, Southern Office Supplies, Xpress Solutions, HC Consumables Ltd, Office Central, Office Choice, Office Depot UK LLC, Office Outlet, Office Outlet Holdings Limited, Med Supply Group LLC and Medistore. This is not an exhaustive list as new company names are added periodically.

The invoices tend to be for a relatively small amount in the region of £400-900 and are frequently addressed to a genuine person employed by the organisation, which of course may be available on the organisation’s website.

In addition, there have also been emails sent threatening late payment fees, and potential legal action if their invoices are not settled. Invoices will ask that payments are made into the bank accounts quoted and these accounts will be controlled by the fraudsters.

How to protect your organisation from fraud:
  • Organisations should check their finance systems. If any invoices have been received or paid in respect of the suppliers named above and there is no record of an order being placed or goods being received, please contact an Anti-Crime Specialist for further advice.
  • All organisations need to be vigilant when receiving invoices. Check that the goods were actually ordered and have been received.
  • Invoices may be marked as overdue or urgent, putting pressure on staff to process payments swiftly, but always make checks before payment.
  • Contact your TIAA Anti-Crime Specialist for further guidance on invoice fraud prevention.

For further discussion and support, including fraud awareness training services, contact: